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Posts Tagged ‘Fran Haley’

Read, write, share

I have a soft spot for the mimosa tree. One was growing in my grandfather’s yard when I was a child. My brother and I would climb its branches and use the seed pods in mud pie and “soup”. On a recent walk I took pictures of the mimosa blossom. It’s beautiful in its feathery flounce. When I took a moment to Google the tree this morning, I found out a few things:

  1. The tree comes from Asia, known as the Persian silk tree or the pink silk tree.
  2. The wood of the mimosa is brittle and prone to break. Thus the tree has a short life span.
  3. The tree is an invasive species from China.
  4. The tree attracts webworm.
  5. The mimosa pod (which my brother and I used in pretend play) is poisonous.

This mimosa tree was growing wild in Mississippi. I’ve also seen a few in our city park and near the bayou in a wooded area. Write a poem based on this image and put it into the comments. Please reply to 3 other writers with encouragement. Thanks for being here.

Fran Haley is leading the Open Write at Ethical ELA today. I used her prompt to create my poem.

Mimosa

evanescent blossoms
perky pink feathering
flames of flower power
invasive Asian tree
reaching for the sunlight
my childhood memory

Margaret Simon, draft

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Even before we were sheltering in our homes, I enjoyed making connections over cyberspace. Teacher-poet-writer Fran Haley is one of those connections. We read each other. Yesterday she wrote a beautiful blog post “Ode to the Wind.” In that post she wrote about a tweet from Robert MacFarlane with the word of the day: susurrate.

Word of the day: “susurrate”—to whisper, murmur, esp. of noise produced by numerous individual sources of sound (bees humming, leaves rustling, etc.) Compare to “psithurism,” its similarly sibilant sense-sibling, meaning the whispering of wind in trees (from Ancient Greek).

Susurrate was a new word to me when I read MacFarlane’s most amazing, beautiful book the lost words: A Spell Book. A friend who knows I love words and poetry loaned it to me. I presented the first few poems to my students. The last stanza of the second poem “adder” reads:

Rustle of grass, sudden susurrus, what
the eye misses:
For adder is as adder hisses.

Robert MacFarlane, the lost words

Reading Fran’s post, I remembered that I had written a definito to the word. The definito is a form created by my friend, teacher-poet Heidi Mordhorst. “The definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common, often abstract word, which always ends the poem.

I love this form for working with the meaning of a new word in a way that helps someone else understand the word.

As murmur is to whisper
a mutter to a babble
When grumbles turn to mumbles
and a purr softens sound
As whisper is to wind
a sigh of the weather
As a hum is to a hummingbird
flying quickly to a flower
You may hear something
close to silence…susurration. 

Photo by Philippe Donn from Pexels

The Progressive Poem is coming to the end. Today Donna Smith is hosting Jessica Bigi’s contribution.

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